One man’s choices for the best the NHL has to offer:
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh. Still the NHL’s gold standard.
2. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles. Does everything right.
3. Patrice Bergeron, Boston. A coach’s dream.
1. Brent Burns, San Jose. Not a tooth in sight.
2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington. Happiest scorer in the league.
3. Tyler Seguin, Dallas. Laughs every time he thinks of the Bruins’ return from Dallas.
1. Mike Babcock, Toronto. You don’t want to be on the receiving end.
2. Michel Therrien, Montreal. Plenty of it last year.
3. Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles. Only smiles in private.
Best pending trade acquisitions
1. Jarome Iginla, Colorado. Pittsburgh redux?
2. Alex Burrows, Vancouver. Can still play. And bite.
3. Dennis Wideman, Calgary. Might deck a ref en route to the airport.
1. Paul Stastny, St. Louis. Better pick it up to join old man Peter in the Hall of Fame.
2. Max Domi, Arizona. Silky hands compared with father Tie’s granite blocks.
3. William Nylander, Toronto. Sees everything on the ice like father Michael.
1. Frans Nielsen, Detroit. Very good all-around center.
2. Lars Eller, Washington. Not afraid to get dirty.
3. Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg. More flammable than the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton. Will make 10 times his $925,000 annual salary on his next deal.
2. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh. A Cup-winning goalie making $620,000. Not bad.
3. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa. Earning $6.5 million annually and still underpaid.
1. John Gibson, Anaheim. Duck hunt lovers rejoice.
2. Corey Crawford, Chicago. Takes confidence to own both black and white lids.
3. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay. Last year of wearing glow-in-the-dark Lightning colors.
1. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh. Can still play. Just bypassed by a younger, cheaper, and better Matt Murray.
2. Antti Raanta, Rangers. Finally, some ice time after being Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.
3. Cam Ward, Carolina. Hurricanes wouldn’t cry if ex-Conn Smythe winner gets picked.
1. Auston Matthews, Toronto. Calder favorite, barring injury.
2. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg. Loves to shoot.
3. Mitch Marner, Toronto. Scores from everywhere.
Best pending retiree
1. Patrik Elias, New Jersey. Still in limbo following knee surgery.
2. Marc Savard, New Jersey. Ex-Bruin’s contract finally expires after this season.
3. Jaromir Jagr, Florida. Yeah right. He’s only turning 45 in February.
1. Jamie Benn, Dallas. Best left wing in the league.
2. Duncan Keith, Chicago. Sitting out World Cup will pay off.
3. Bobby Ryan, Ottawa. Dangerous when he gets hot.